Kyle Busch wrecks after posting fastest lap in final Sprint Cup practice

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Kyle Busch was the fastest driver in Saturday’s final practice for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, turning a speed of 188.640 mph.

Unfortunately, Busch wrecked after his first two practice laps and will be forced to start Sunday’s race from the back of the 43-car field.

Busch, who qualified seventh Thursday, did manage to put 19 additional laps in his backup car, but none of those laps came close to his earlier fast lap.

Ironically, Busch wrecked Thursday in his Nationwide Series car, received permission to repair it back at Joe Gibbs Racing’s headquarters in nearby Huntersville, N.C., and then came out earlier Saturday to qualify No. 1 for that afternoon’s History 300.

Joey Logano was right behind Busch on the Sprint Cup speed charts, clocking in at 188.265 mph.

And Danica Patrick recorded yet another impressive run, ranking third-fastest at 187.846 mph.

Rounding out the top five were Greg Biffle (187.663) and 600 pole-sitter Jimmie Johnson (187.656).

Sixth- through 10th-fastest were Kevin Harvick (187.428), Carl Edwards 9187.422), Martin Truex Jr. (187.337), Clint Bowyer (187.071) and Ryan Newman (186.987).

Of note about the top 10 fastest: six have yet to win a race thus far in 2014 (Patrick, Biffle, Johnson, Truex, Bowyer and Newman).

Other highlights from Happy Hour:

* Current points leader Jeff Gordon did not practice due to back spasms that forced him run just 11 laps in the day’s earlier session. Gordon said he plans on racing Sunday, but will have Nationwide Series driver Regan Smith on standby, just in case.

* Also not taking part in the final practice session were Joe Nemechek and Reed Sorenson, apparently to preserve their equipment for NASCAR’s longest and most grueling race of the season.

* Kurt Busch, who will attempt to complete the “Double” on Sunday – racing in both the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 – saw a nice bump up in speed from the morning session at 186.245 mph.

* Blake Koch was the slowest of the 40 drivers that took to the track at 180.717 mph.

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MRTI: Telitz gets creative to help racing career

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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To say that Belardi Auto Racing’s Aaron Telitz has endured a difficult start to the 2018 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season would be an understatement. The Wisconsin native only completed four corners through the first three races – Races 1 and 2 at St. Petersburg, and Race 1 at Barber Motorsports Park – with St. Pete being especially problematic.

He took the pole for Race 1, but a crash during qualifying for Race 2 prevented him from actually starting. What’s more, the damage was so severe that the Belardi team needed a brand new chassis, with Telitz’s Dallara IL-15 damaged beyond repair.

They also had to borrow a car from Carlin for Race 2, but Telitz’s race ended after he got tangled up with Victor Franzoni in Turn 2 on Lap 1.

With the damage bill well into the six figures as a result, Telitz has taken to some unique, or rather, creative ways to raise money in the aftermath to help cover the costs. “Creative,” in this case, meaning Telitz is using his art skills.

An artist in his spare time, Telitz has begun selling his own original paintings to help raise money.

 “I’ve been to a lot of art shows and I see stuff and I go, ‘Holy cow, someone’s going to pay a thousand dollars for that thing?’” Telitz quipped in a story posted on the Milwaukee Journal.

In discussing his artistic abilities, Telitz added, “I’m working at getting better. I’d like to be able to paint some animals, those types of things. I got a request from Alexander Rossi to see if I could paint his dog. Unfortunately I can’t do that yet.”

Further, in a partnership with The Styled Garage, Telitz is selling his own merchandise, and accepting donations, to help his cause.

Telitz finished fourth in Race 2 at Barber on Sunday, and sits seventh in the Indy Lights championship, 59 points behind leader Pato O’Ward.

Follow@KyleMLavigne